The generally dismal summer in the UK this year didn’t do much for holidaymakers staying at home – or for businesses across the country. All kinds of retail sectors were hard hit by the washout, most especially clothing stores, and about the only ones profiting from the gloom were budget airlines, as people escaped to sunnier climes.

While it’s true that parts of the UK experienced unseasonably high temperatures in July, when 36.7ºC was recorded in London, the sizzling heat quickly gave way to one of the coolest British summers in years. In fact, throughout the summer months, when many parts of the country were deluged in heavy showers and thunder and lightning, temperatures averaged a measly 13.9ºC, according to the Met Office.

People were in no mood to shop, at home at least. Clothing sales dropped 5.5% in August alone, a fourth consecutive drop for the sector, accountants BDO reported. Giving a boost to the great getaway, meanwhile, was the rising strength of the pound against the plummeting value of the euro, largely due to the lingering Greek economic crisis. That meant holidays to eurozone countries were cheaper than ever, and substantially so.

Just how many people were dashing overseas to get some sun? We can take a clue from leading budget airline easyJet. It said that an enormous amount of people bought tickets at the last moment for travel in August, and during that month it carried 7.1 million people, chiefly to popular Spanish and Portuguese destinations.

As summer transitions into autumn and then the peak shopping season of the year, businesses up and down the country will be looking to recover from the big summer slump.

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